Details of Child Death Investigation

Court documents filed Tuesday in Door County circuit court indicate that 8 month old Elena Martinez had a interior body temperature of 107.9 degrees when she was brought to Ministry Door County Medical Center shortly after 6PM on October 19th. That despite a more than 40 minute ambulance ride from Brussels to the hospital in Sturgeon Bay. The daughter of 33 year old Melissa Martinez was pronounced dead in the emergency room. Earlier, her mother indicated that the child had been placed in her 2001 Dodge Durango which was started & the heat turned on. However, Melissa Martinez insisted that Elena was only in the vehicle for 15 minutes. She told an investigating officer that she remembered placing the child in a car seat at 6:30AM. When she took Elena to the car, she turned it on to warm it up. She said she turned the vehicle off when her sister came to the house at about 5PM. While Martinez insisted that the child had only been in the vehicle for 15 to 20 minutes, she could not explain what happened between 6:30AM & 4:30PM. The autopsy conducted by doctor Brian Peterson, Milwaukee County Medical Examiner, determined that Elena was a healthy child with no signs of inflammation, no meningitis, no bacteria in the blood. Doctor Peterson indicated that the cause of death was “environmental hyperthermia”,  exposure to heat in the vehicle. During questioning, Melissa Martinez admitted that she had been drinking the day her child died. At 9:40PM on that day a preliminary breath test indicated that she had an alcohol concentration three times the legal limit more than three hours after Elena was pronounced dead.

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